A newborn can be claimed as a dependent on your federal and state tax returns in the year the child was born. If the child was born on December 30, you can claim the newborn as a dependent for that calendar year. If the child was born on January 1, you cannot claim the newborn on last year's tax return, but you'll be able to claim the child as a dependent when you file your taxes next spring. Before you claim a newborn on your tax return, you should know the specific requirements and benefits of having this new addition to your family.
Apply for a Social Security number for the newborn as soon as the baby is born. Some hospitals will include a copy of the SS-5 form from the Social Security Office in your new baby package. If not, you can obtain the form online at Social Security Online (see Resources).
Claim the newborn on your taxes only if you are not claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax returns. Other conditions must be met as well. The newborn must be your son or daughter, stepsister, stepbrother, sister, brother, foster child, stepchild or a descendant of one of these. Additionally, you must provide more than half of the newborn's financial support during the year. Adopted newborns qualify as dependents as well.
Enter the newborn as a dependent on your federal tax return Form 1040 or 1040A. You will need to enter the child's Social Security number, full name and relationship to you. If you want to claim the child tax credit using the newborn as a qualifying child, you must check the box for the child.
Fill out form 2441 (see Resources). Enter the amount from that form on line 29 of Form 1040A or line 48 of Form 1040 ("Credit for child and dependent care expenses). You cannot claim this credit if you do not have the care provider's Social Security number or Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Enter the child tax credit on line 33 of Form 1040A or line 51 of Form 1040. Figure the credit using the worksheet provided in the instructions for Form 1040.
Enter the Earned Income Credit on line 38a of Form 1040A or line 64a of Form 1040, if your income level qualifies you to claim this credit. Use Schedule EIC (see Resources) to determine your credit and if you qualify.
Enter the additional child tax credit from Form 8812 on line 65 of Form 1040 or line 39 of Form 1040A. Figure the additional child tax credit using IRS Form 8812 (see Resources).
Things You'll Need
Newborn's Social Security number
Form 1040 or 1040A